• Andy Jonak

2015 Year in Review and Reflections

As we finish up 2015, I wanted to reflect back on some of areas in which we saw our customers focus on in regards to services. As we do end the year, we continue to realize how important IT (and efficiently running IT environments) are so critical to a firm’s success. I've covered it in other posts over the past 3 or so years, but we all know that IT has become so ubiquitous within firms that I believe it gets taken for granted as to how important it is—and that's the technology and personnel. See some of my other posts to hear me discuss (or some may say rant) this. But in the meantime let’s focus on the here and now. 


Each year we make note of these areas in which we see our customers focus and I thought it would make sense to discuss them. There is nothing revolutionary about the list below (most should be awfully familiar to all of use), but this is where we've see a lot of focus this year. 


And, as in many of the items I will mention below, it's not about an organization not being able or willing to do these (some can't and need outside help), but in many cases it about freeing up the resources and time to focus upon it is where they challenge lies. 


Efficient Management of the Enterprise

This is an areas in which we have seen a big increase in engagement in 2015. Just about all organizations that we work with have a management strategy in place for their enterprises. What we don't see is all of those organizations having an efficient management strategy for their enterprises. That's why firms Vicom are asked to help. Be it around the tools they are using, the aggregation of tools into a single pane of glass/manager of managers, or processes, this is where organizations are looking for help. Where we see they really need help is within the integration of their management for seamless workflow. Having lots of best-of-breed tools is straightforward and makes sense, but getting them all to work together seamlessly is generally not so straightforward. 


Managed Services

I wrote a post around this back in June (see post: Managed Services, Make Sense or Not?), but we are finding that more and more of our customers are looking for some sort of managed services. And in most cases, it's not around an organization outsourcing their entire environment but around an area they would prefer not to manage themselves. This can be a specific areas such as the network, firewall, Windows environment, security or other areas. This frees up resources and allows for a firm to not have to hire a full-time resource. The economics of this are attractive to firms. 


Infrastructure Support

I wrote two posts around support this year (Additional Views on Support & Support Yet Again, Revisited) discussing how support for the infrastructure is still as critical as ever. Purchasing great technology and not having it architected, installed and supported correctly just doesn't work and leads to a big mismatch in term of expectations. This oft overlooked area is so important and we see firms asking for help, especially if they can't, or don't want to, do it themselves. We this across all technologies and areas within the datacenter. 


Security

Security is and will always be important within the enterprise. We all know it, so nothing new here. What we see is that customers of all sizes that we work with (from the smallest to the largest) are taking it very seriously out of necessity. And that includes security in all forms including people, data, application, infrastructure, and security intelligence. We see firms looking for help in these areas and particularly a big increase around security intelligence in tying their security tools together for analytics and insight. 


Cloud

The Cloud is and will continue to be important to how customers deploy and use IT. What we've found is that organizations are doing their due diligence this year to see where the Cloud makes sense for their specific needs, environments, and applications, and then are moving towards it. We see that firms are looking for a lot more insight into what it costs and takes to operate in the Cloud. There are many myths that we (see post: Myths Around the Cloud) are helping customers dispel and understand. One of the most important is that it is not necessarily cheaper to go to the Cloud. Over the long run it can generally be more expensive then on premise technology. But we see customers taking (and getting) a more educated approach as to what the Cloud means for them. 


Staffing

We have seen an increase in our staffing placements within our customers. Most organizations we know and work with use staffing firms regularly as makes sense (see post: Why Staffing Firms are Critical) when needed. What we are see customers continually looking for is the easiest way to get the resources they need. The firms we work with don't want to receive 12 resumes for the consulting resources or perm placements that they need. They want us to do initial interviews (which most staffing firms do), but what's really important to them is technical interviews and technical vetting (which most staffing firms do not do). They don't want to weed through all candidates technical abilities as, frankly, that's the job of the staffing firm. But many staffing firms don't do it. Customers are looking for us to present them with a few very technically qualified resumes versus a larger quantity of unqualified ones. Customers just don't have time and we don't blame them. We agree. 


So that's what we saw happening over the past 12 months. As we roll into the New Year, we'll all see where IT chooses to take us, but I believe that the above mentioned items will still be very much relevant throughout 2016 and beyond. I hope it's been a productive 2015 and you achieved all of your goals, both IT and personal, and are all set for a great 2016. As I know it's going to be a great year for all. Happy New Year and see you in 2016.

Andy


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Andy Jonak

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